Thursday, April 26, 2012

Waiting For You A Month!

One month ago today, I answered the phone to life-altering news.  While the biggest changes are yet to come, there have been noticeable changes around here already, and I would say that all of them have been for the better. Life is moving at a faster pace now as we try to accomplish – well – everything before our little man arrives, and still there is so much more to do.

I battled with a photo site for weeks and finally came up with a photo album I was happy to send to Francis.  Last week we sent that off to him along with a care package filled with love.  We know the package made it to the Philippines early this week, so now we’re anxiously awaiting the news that the package got to Francis.  At the same time, we’re still waiting for his legals to arrive, and hope that those show up soon.

I was asked several times if the wait is harder for me now that I have Francis’ pictures in hand and know who he is and where he is.  Maybe after a few months it will be, but right now the answer is an honest “No.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I have his pictures everywhere – I carry them with me and show them off to anyone who asks (and some who don’t.)  I have his pictures in a screensaver on my computer, and there are some nights that I just sit and watch it play over and over and over.  I just want to hold him and give him hugs and kisses, and I can’t believe I was blessed enough to be chosen for this child.  But right now, I know that he has caregivers who love him and are taking wonderful care of him.  He has a best friend.  I know how hard it is going to be for him to separate from his caregivers and his friends.  I know how hard it will be for them to say goodbye to him.  The nearly 37 months that I waited for the biggest phone call of my life was an incredibly long time, and four to five months pales in comparison.  One month is already gone, and it went by quickly.  If Francis was in a horrible place it would be a different story, but I know he is healthy and happy and that’s what’s important right now.  Do I want him with me and would I get him in five minutes if that’s what I could do?  Yes.  In the meantime, he is well taken care of and happy, and that’s the most a mother can ask for until she has her child in her arms.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overwhelmed - In a Good Way

The past two weeks since we received Francis’ referral have been amazing, and I don’t recall the last time I was overcome with such incredible emotion.  The feelings I’ve experienced over the last two weeks have been nothing short of overwhelming – in a good way.

Do you remember the book (or the movie) How the Grinch Stole Christmas?  First the Grinch’s heart was three sizes too small, but after realizing the meaning of Christmas, “ Who-ville they say, that the Grinch's small heart, grew three sizes that day!”  Yes.  This is exactly how I feel – like my heart has grown (at least) three sizes for this (as my best friend puts it) “super-cute and super-handsome both at the same time” little boy who some days I still can’t believe I will get to love and hug and call my son.  The love and joy Francis has brought to our home – and he’s not even here yet – is overwhelming in its magnitude.

I absolutely cannot wait to bring Francis home.  If I could, I would go to the airport right now, hop on a plane and go to him.  Since I can’t do that, there’s a lot of “stuff” to get ready and prepare for his arrival.  So much stuff that that, too, is almost overwhelming.  Gregg and I broke out the pen and paper and started making lists on what needed to be done, what needed to be purchased, and what we need help with before we do get on the plane.  I’m sure it will get done.  Most of it, anyway.  And if it doesn’t, we’ll be just fine.  As long as we have the basics, we’ll be OK.  Right now, we’ve got most of his room ready and are waiting on a few things to come in so we can send him a package.  Still, though, I have this recurring nightmare that I’m getting on the plane kicking and screaming that I didn’t get everything done that I needed to do.

In the meantime, now there is hardly a time that goes by that one of us (and this includes Grandma/Lola) goes to a store (or near a store) and doesn’t come home with provisions for Francis.  I went to the grocery store this week and picked up a toothbrush for him.  Cue the tears.  Francis had a toothbrush to hang in the bathroom.  I was buying a toothbrush for my son.  This was FOR REAL.   FINALLY.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How it all happened

Did you see the big announcement?  You might want to view this post first.

I could have imagined writing this post a thousand times over the last three years, but now that it’s finally time, I’m at a loss for words.  I’ve spent the last week looking at pictures of the most gorgeous little boy I have ever laid eyes on over and over and over again.  I just can’t get it through my head that this time, it’s for real.  This time, there are no “take backs.”  This time, in roughly five months, I’ll be on a plane heading for the Philippines, ready to become this little boy’s mother.

In reality, I’ve been holding out.  I’ve known about Francis and the possibility that he could be ours since January 3.  There’s been plenty to blog about – I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t go there again, opening my heart, letting him in, letting other people know what was going on.  It’s the old “fool me once…fool me twice” saying.  I wasn’t going to get burned again.  The total number of people who knew about the possibility, including Gregg and myself?  Ten.  The only family members we told were my parents.  We just couldn’t go through the explanation all over again - we couldn't hurt our family again.

If there’s one thing we know for certain, though, it’s that God had His hand all over this match, which was proposed by our agency’s adoption coordinator when she found him on the special home finding list.  Ever since Gregg and I took in the first litter of kittens, we’ve said that the patron saint of our household must be St. Francis of Assisi because of all of the animals.  “What a funny coincidence,” we thought, when we opened the file and saw that his name was Francis. 

It took us some time to go through the records and go back and forth with the doctor at CHOP.  The day we said yes and had our match meeting with the social worker, it was January 21, one year to the day that we lost our sweet Oreo cat.  The day I dropped off all of our signed paperwork was the feast day of St. Francis de Sales. 

Time dragged on and on and I just could not understand what was preventing the match from being presented to the Board.  I told the program coordinator that March 4 was coming up, and if we got bad news around that date I wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Really, two big losses in exactly three years?  It would be way too much.  Sure enough, she called on March 1 and said that we needed to provide more information.  We gave them six pages worth of information and asked our confidants to start praying.  The paperwork went off to the Philippines on the feast day of St. Frances of Rome.

I finally heard on Tuesday, March 20 that the match would have been presented to the Board the week before, but there had been a quorum and the Board did not meet.  The decision was coming that week, unless something happened.  Wednesday night, Gregg and I went to evening Mass and I pleaded for peace and resolution.  Nothing on Thursday.  Nothing on Friday.  Friday afternoon I was swearing up and down they had not met over the match and I was pulling my hair out.  We went to a favorite country store to spend the afternoon on Sunday after I spent Saturday in bed with a migraine. 

And then there was Monday morning.

I woke up convinced that the only thing we would hear on Monday was that the Board had not met about our match the previous week.  I went to the mailbox and realized I would have to deal with the insurance company.  Then the dog got sick.  Oh, boy, did the dog get sick!!! 

I ended up on the phone with the company that makes this supplement Lakota had to start taking the week before.  They wanted to file an “incident report” about how sick the dog was since there was nothing about that particular symptom in their database.  Exactly at 9:30 a.m., my call waiting started to beep.  Just as I was getting into the nuances of how sick the dog was with the very lovely representative from the supplement company – and I couldn’t hang up on her!  I waited for my cell phone to ring, but it did not.

I finished up with the dog supplement lady and sat down to try to get some transcription done.  9:47 a.m. the phone rang again and Pearl S. Buck came up on the caller ID.

“Hi, Jennifer!  I just called to say ‘Congratulations!’”

Cue tears.  My first words?  “Are you serious?”  That’s what a three year, three week, and one day wait will do to a person.  Cause you to respond to the call informing you you have a son by saying, “Are you serious?” 

I called Gregg at work and told him – he just couldn’t believe it.

I called my mother in tears and she thought the answer was no because I was crying!

And in the middle of all that, I stopped dead in the middle of my living room and said “Thank you, God, for this amazing, wonderful gift.”  The most incredible blessing in my life finally has a face and a name – and I just can’t wait to be able to give him hugs and kisses.